How did the Victorians keep food fresh without modern refrigeration?
Commercially manufactured ice was freely available by the mid-Victorian period and primitive ice chests were made – either at home or professionally, which cooled food by evaporation.
Why do Victorian cookery books place so much emphasis on Aspic for decoration?
Aspic is a clear savoury jelly made from boiled calves’ feet and was used extensively to mask or cover cold dishes which needed to stay fresh for some time: the aspic acted as a natural ‘Jiffy Wrap'® to keep moisture in and germs and bacteria out.
What is the difference between Service a la Française and Service a la Russe?
Service a la Française (in the French Style) was in fashion until the middle of the Victorian period and consisted of a large number of different dishes placed on the table at once – people helped themselves and one another from common dishes.
Service a la Russe (in the Russian Style) became increasingly popular after the 1850’s. Food began to be served in successive courses, with one dish and its accompaniments handed round at a time. This entailed a vast expenditure in cutlery and crockery, and of course waiting staff.